Jennifer Redcay: Surviving Spiritual Abuse
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
Amish buggies, grain silos, and lush cornfields make the hills of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, an idyllic place. But in this peaceful environment, Jennifer Redcay joined a bizarre Christian cult.
“Someone in my family was involved with them first. She met them at the Christian bookstore and started talking to them,” she tells The 700 Club. “They really seemed to be on fire for God.”
Jennifer was raised in a Christian family but didn’t take her walk with God seriously. After high school, she wanted to grow in her faith. Then she and her mother, Marian, met a man who told them he could help them through his deliverance ministry.
“The main thing that got me involved was he told me that the Lord gave him a word that I had an idol up in my life and would I pray to tear down that idol with him,” Jennifer recalls. “Reluctantly I agreed, because I did not want to have anything between me and God. He prophesied over me and said that God was going to use me mightily. He promised all these grand and wonderful things, and I believed him.”
Little by little, Jennifer and Marian were drawn deeper into the group, despite several warning signs.
“They told me that God wanted me to sell everything that I had, to sell my house, to sell my clothing, all my furniture—everything. And to then move to a different town.”
Jennifer and her mother did as they were directed. They moved to another location 40 miles away and took jobs at a local restaurant. The leader of the cult controlled every aspect of their lives. He told them if they talked with anyone about the ministry, they would go to hell. He forced them to cut ties with family, and Jennifer’s husband left her because of the cult. The leader confiscated their money and later began abusing them.
She says, “He abused us in several ways. We were abused spiritually, physically—all of us were. He beat me regularly. I had a broken rib, black and blue eyes, a broken arm. He threw me out of a vehicle at one point. He actually got me pregnant and told me that I had to have an abortion.”
The cult leader used sleep deprivation, rebuking and fear of damnation to keep the women in bondage to him. Jennifer and Marian continued working at this restaurant. Then one day, two regular customers, Ira and Grace Weaver, began asking the women about their relationship with God.
“They came into the restaurant faithfully every Sunday for like five years. We just kept talking to them. At first I talked to them about the Lord, and then the leader of the cult told me I couldn’t talk to them anymore. So I had to very cold and very curt with them. I could still wait on them, but I had to be careful with what I said, nothing personal.”
After a time, Grace says she sensed that something was wrong. Then one day she noticed a cast on Jennifer’s wrist.
“I said to her, ‘Jennifer, what happened to your hand?’ She said, ‘Oh, I slid and fell up against a cabinet, and I broke two bones in my hand.’ But when she walked away, it was like something clicked in my mind. This isn’t quite right,” Grace says.
Grace began praying for Jennifer and Marian and says God gave her a vision of what the cult was doing to them. The next time she came into the restaurant, Grace told Marian about the vision in detail. Marian immediately ran and grabbed her daughter.
“The Lord just revealed to me everything that was going on,” Grace says. “He just shared to me that she had been beaten and that he was controlling their money, telling her what kind of cars to drive, what color clothes to wear. I was amazed myself at what I was saying, but I know it was the Lord revealing. They were saying, ‘Yes, that’s the truth.’ Jennifer came over and said, ‘Are you sure I’m not going to go to hell?’ I kept repeating over and over, ‘Jennifer, you’re not going to go to hell.'”
Jennifer says, “It was so specific. It had to be God. There was no way that any of the things that she knew could not have been from the Lord.”
The Weavers told them they needed to leave the cult. Although the women feared retribution from the leader, they made the break. Several Christian families in the area offered assistance in the form of financial help, a new place to stay and counseling. After several months, Jennifer and Marian knew they had made the right decision. Later, Jennifer found a book on spiritual abuse.
“In the book, it specifically said that there were certain things that God abhorred that can happen in ministries when people get too prideful and they start to take advantage of the people under them,” Jennifer says. “It mentioned everything that was happening to my mother and I, including the sexual abuse.”
Today, Jennifer is happily married, and she and her mother are both active members of her new church. She says with God’s help, she has forgiven the people who abused her.
“I don’t hold any bitterness toward them at all,” Jennifer says. “I pray for them, and I want them to see the truth. I know if they knew the God that I know, they would not be doing what they are doing. God is too awesome.”
Jennifer says everything she went through was worth it, because her search finally led her to a true knowledge of God.
“I understood intellectually that God loves us and God would do anything for us. He sent Jesus for us to die for us. I didn’t have any type of heart revelation, but now I can tell you that God has showered His love on me. He has done so many things for my mother and I, just giving us new homes, a new life, a new start, restored friendships and family. I’m reconnected again with my father again.
"I would go through everything again just to come to the point where I have this peace and joy and know God loves me.”
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